Skin Cancer

Health written question – answered on 13th July 2005.

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Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Labour, Alyn and Deeside

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what guidance her Department provides regarding the prevention of skin cancer caused by over-exposure to the sun;

(2) how much has been spent by her Department on (a) advertisements and (b) materials to educate individuals on the effects of over-exposure to the sun.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

In 2003–04, the United Kingdom health departments provided £400,000 funding to Cancer Research UK to run the SunSmart" sun awareness campaign from 2003–04 for an initial three year period. The campaign aims to raise awareness of skin cancer, the symptoms to look out for and the simple steps on how to prevent it. Posters and information cards have been distributed to health professionals, all general practitioners' surgeries and schools, to reach as many people as possible with the five point SunSmart" message:

Stay in the shade between 11.00 am. and 3 pm.

Make sure you never burn

Always cover up

Remember to take extra care with children

Then use factor 15+ sunscreen

SunSmart" encourages people to protect themselves in the sun, thereby reducing their risk of skin cancer. This public education approach using primary care stakeholders has been very successful in Australia, where changes in attitude towards sun exposure and symptom recognition have reduced skin cancer mortality.

The SunSmart" campaign works primarily through the distribution of materials, public relations and strategy development, underpinned by research to provide an evidence base.

As Cancer Research UK does not use paid advertising in newsletters or papers as a primary communication tool, costs reflect activities such as promotional merchandise, web presence, sun awareness week activities, purchasing of distribution opportunities and conference presence. Estimates of the value of the coverage and reach generated by the campaign in 2004 are as follows:

Number of articles generated: 932

This is an increase of 485 articles—more than double that generated in 2003

76 per cent. of all United Kingdom adults were reached

The advertising equivalent rate is £6, 687,296

494 million people with an opportunity to see

Reach stayed the same as 2003 at 76 per cent.

Frequency of message increased from 10.4 to 13.9 per adult


The above does not include reach of free resource materials, but to print and radio coverage at nil cost.

Costs of materials include components for their development and design, printing, storage and distribution. Other costs relate to staff, including on costs, are shown in the table.

Total contract Staff costs Advertising and promotion Materials
2003–04 110,000 26,000 14,500 61,000
2004–05 170,000 45,000 37,000 88,000
2005–06 175,000 48500 39,500 87,000
2006–07 180,000 Unbudgeted at this stage

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